Fire safety complacency poses risk to UK businesses

29 March 2022

As more businesses prepare to return to the workplace, business leaders are showing growing concerns for complacency in response to false fire alarms. Fire specialists JLA carried out research as part of their ‘False fire alarms’ campaign, finding that business owners worry that employees become used to false fire alarms, resulting in a minimised urgency in response to a real fire. In fact, as many as 44% of the 250 respondents suggested that employee interest in fire safety declines as a result of false fire alarms. The lacklustre attitude towards fire safety is concerning for business owners as employees could be slow to act, leaving the premises in a way that isn’t particularly safe or urgent.

Other concerns with false fire alarms include employee productivity being compromised. On the whole, 36% of respondents found this to be a cause for concern. That figure increased to 41% for the hospitality industry, and rose again to 46% of businesses with office workers. Business owners are also worried that the site would have to close to deal with the aftermath of a false alarm, consequently losing money and facing damage to their reputation, with 30% citing closure as a point of concern.

How can businesses prevent the hindrance that false fire alarms can have on productivity?

  • Ensure all fire equipment is checked regularly and working correctly
  • Provide employee training on preventing false fire alarms
  • Provide training to employees on how to respond to a false fire alarm to decrease disruption

Peter Martin, Operations Director of Fire & Security at JLA said, “frequent training can be given to avoid this complacency and will ensure that all employees and businesses are as best prepared as possible to deal effectively with a fire, should an alarm sound.

“Fire alarms, while frustrating, are often a necessary reminder to employees of the right steps to take to safely evacuate and get to an area of safety. This, with an emphasis on checking fire equipment and alarms, will ensure that minimal disruption is made and that the business can operate as usual.”

Training in preventing a false fire alarm, as well as how to act in the case of a false fire alarm, stands out as an important factor to consider along with checking fire equipment. However, the survey found that 38% of businesses do not have an adequate fire risk assessment and 20% only get their fire alarms tested once a year. JLA also revealed that 40% of businesses have not given all of their staff the proper training on what causes false fire alarms. This figure jumps up in the hospitality industry, rising to 75% of staff not properly trained in fire prevention. If businesses aren’t fully equipped on fire prevention, this could have detrimental effects. That includes preparedness in dealing with the impact of a false fire alarm, with the consequences including a damaged reputation, loss of revenue, and decrease in business efficiency.

How Total Fire Group can help

Keeping on top of your fire equipment maintenance keeps you and your colleagues safe, compliant, and gives you peace of mind. If you’re looking for support with this, we can help.

As fire safety consultancy specialists, we work with a range of commercial businesses across various organisations, ensuring they’re up to date with their fire safety. We can help you with your fire risk assessment, maintenance of fire equipment, training, and we have our own fire risk assessment software to streamline your safety protocols. If you have multiple businesses, or multiple business sites, our revolutionary software helps you keep track of those sites and the actions within them, all in one place. Contact us to have a quick chat about how we can best help you, or you can book a free demo to see our fire safety software in action.

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